African Plant Database

Dioscorea cayenensis Lam.
Protologue : Encycl. (Lamarck) 3(1): 233 (1789) 
Information on the genus : Dioscorea
Status for MA : accepted (present)
Status for TA : accepted (present)
Synonym(s) Homotypic
 Dioscorea cayenensis Lam. subsp. cayenensis (1789)
Synonym(s) Heterotypic
=Dioscorea berteroana Kunth (1850)
=Dioscorea moma De Wild. (1912)
=Dioscorea occidentalis R. Knuth (1924)
=*Dioscorea praehensilis auct. F.T.A. p.p.
=Dioscorea pruinosa A. Chev. (1913)
=Dioscorea camerunensis R. Knuth (1924)
=Dioscorea aculeata Balb. ex Kunth
Taxon infra-specific
Dioscorea cayenensis subsp. rotundata (Poir.) J. Miège
Dioscorea cayenensis Lam. subsp. cayenensis (1789)
Ecology and distribution
Trop. Afr.
Biology : Vine with annual stems, terete, right-twining, 2-5 m long, unarmed or prickly, spines 1-3 at base, sparse above; bulbils absent; tuber sub-cylindrical, sometimes bifid at base, 35-50 cm long, 7-10 cm Ø (weight up to 26 kg), formed near soil surface, superficial roots prickly or unarmed; leaves opposite above, alternate at base; petiole 2,5-12 cm long, sometimes spiny, rounded-canaliculate; blade broadly ovate to suborbicular, sometimes undulate, 4-12x2,5-10 cm, apex acuminate, base broadly cordate; male inflorescence of 1-3 spikes, 4-6 cm long, in leaf axils; female of 1-2 spikes, 10-12 cm long, few-flowered, to 45 cm long in fruit; capsule 2-2,5x3-3,5 cm; seeds winged all round.
Ecology : Wooded savannas; sources; fallows; gallery; forests with Scorodophloeus zenkeri; sandy soils; 200-1100 m alt.
  Two subspecies are recognized, but the criteria used to differentiate them are not satisfactory, and many forms are intermediate
  The relations between D. cayenensis, D. praehensilis, D. abyssinica, D. liebrechtsiana are not clear.

Bibliography for Tropical Africa :
  • Boudet G. & J.P. Lebrun (1986). Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du Mali. Etudes et Synthèses IEMVT 16
  • Cat. Pl. Vasc. Burkina Faso:60 (2012)
  • César J. & C. Chatelain (2019). Flore illustrée du Tchad. Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de Genève, Coopération Suisse & Univ. N'Djaména
More info on :
see under Jstor_African Plant Initiative
see under Flore d'Afrique Centrale
see under Fgui
see under Missouri Botanical Garden
More information >> ( work in progress )
Record n°174992
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